BCC ups the ante with new casino management program

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — With three new casinos set to open in Massachusetts, Bristol Community College is now offering hands-on training for students hoping to break into that field.

At the school’s Taunton Center, located in the Silver City Galleria, they’re trading desks for blackjack tables. On Friday, the school held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its high-tech casino lab and the advent of its new casino management program.

Starting next semester, students can work towards earning an associate’s degree in Applied Science in Hospitality Management with a concentration in casino management. The program is offered through BCC’s CATCH Institute (Culinary Arts, Tourism, Casino, and Hospitality).

“When we put this program together, we tried to cover the entire gamut of hospitality in this area,” CATCH Institute Director John Caressimo said. “The nexus of this whole thing was the advent of the casinos in Massachusetts and we figured along with casinos comes tourism.”

The program is the first of its kind in Massachusetts to be certified by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. It aims to give students the opportunity to make a good income at any casino in the country after graduation.

“The average median pay for dealers including tips is in the $50,000 range,” Caressimo said.

“Eventually, when the three destination casinos open up in Massachusetts by the end of 2018, they’ll be looking at around 10,000 to 12,000 individuals to work in those casinos,” he added.

The casino lab contains four blackjack tables, two poker tables, a roulette wheel and custom chips, as well as its own surveillance system.

“They will take a course in surveillance,” Caressimo said. “They’ll take courses in dealing blackjack, poker, craps or roulette, whichever two they choose. How to work in a casino. They’re also going to be taking a course in CPR so that, God forbid, anything happens while they’re on the job they’re at least somewhat prepared to assist the customer.”

Applications are currently being accepted for the casino management program, but keep in mind that only 25 students are able to take the course at a time.

Visit Bristol Community College’s website to learn more about the program.

Pictured Left to Right: Dean of the Division for Business & Information Management Bill Berardi, Director of the CATCH Institute John Caressimo, Massachusetts State Representative Shauna L. O’Connell, Massachusetts Speaker Pro Tempore Representative Patricia A. Haddad, Massachusetts Senate President Pro Tempore Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Retired BCC President John J. Sbrega, BCC Board of Trustees Chair Joseph Marshall, BCC President Laura L. Douglas, Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Bruce Stebbins, Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Lloyd Macdonald, Mayor of the City of Taunton Thomas Hoye, Jr., Acting Director of BCC Taunton Gloria Saddler.